Tehama County 51st State of Jefferson State Split Question, Measure A (June 2014)

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Tehama County State Split Question
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Type:Referred advisory measure
Referred by:County supervisors
Topic:State Split

A Tehama County 51st State of Jefferson State Split Question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in Tehama County, California, where it was approved.

The push towards forming a 51st state from counties in northern California and southern Oregon has been ongoing for more than half a century. Although some envision a state consisting of counties from both Oregon and California, the efforts for state splits in each state are separate and, according to Tom Knorr, chair of Tehama for State of Jefferson, counties that are able to achieve a state split from California will form a state whether they are joined by counties from Oregon or not. Knorr wrote, "California counties need to split from California, Oregon counties from Oregon. Also historical in the State of Jefferson, there is, at this time no synchronized effort between the states. If California counties manage to split they will proceed with the formation of the state."[1][2]

An important step in the state split attempt for Tehama County was staged for the June 3, 2014 election. The board of supervisors in Tehama county voted on December 3, 2013, to put an advisory question concerning a resolution calling for a state split, according to Article IV, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution, on the ballot in order to gauge the voters' feelings toward the issue.[3]

Tehama County was the fifth county to approve a resolution calling for a state split. Siskiyou County, Modoc County, Glenn County and Yuba County all approved such measures in the past.[4]

According to Chief Administrator Williams Goodwin, putting the measure on the county ballot cost about $12,360. Goodwin said that he thought it was a cost-effective way of gathering the voter opinion regarding the Jefferson State declaration. He did recommend the county supervisors refrain from trying to sway votes one way or another, saying, "I would advise the board not to prepare an argument in favor for or against this measure if put on the ballot. The whole reason you're putting it out there is to gauge how the public feels to give you advisement as to how to move forward."[5]

The county resolution calling for the advisory vote in June referred to the similar advisory measures administered in 1992 in 27 different counties. In that election, Tehama County voters approved of a "Jefferson State" with a 75.6% majority.[6]

The proposed seal of Jefferson State

All five supervisors, including dissenter Burt Bundy, went on record to say that they would vote according to the will of the people on this question, even though it was only advisory in nature. Supervisor Sandy Bruce said, "My position is that I want to know the will of the people. And that is what I will follow, that is what I will do."[7]

Since this measure was approved, if a significant enough number of counties submit resolutions requesting a state split, the proposal would still require approval from state legislators and U.S. Congress. Critics of the effort, as well as those who see it is unfeasible, said it was unlikely that the state split would be approved by state and federal lawmakers, as it would further diffuse the power of each individual by adding additional representatives from the new state. Ethan Rarick, director of the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service at the University of California, Berkeley, said, “There is no incentive. If you’re one of 100 senators you don’t want to become one of 102.”[8]

Similar questions were before voters in Del Norte County and Siskiyou County on the June 3 election ballot.

Election results

Measure A
Approveda Yes 7,242 56.91%
Election results from Tehama County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

Should the Tehama County Board of Supervisors adopt a Declaration of Support for the proposed separation from the State of California and formation of a new state?[7][9]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure A was prepared by the office of the county counsel:[10]

Measure “A” is an advisory vote concerning Tehama County's possible support for separation from the State of California and formation of a new state. Measure “A” does not have any legal effect. Rather, Measure “A” allows the voters of Tehama County to voice their general opinion regarding whether the Board of Supervisors should adopt a Declaration of Support for the proposed separation from the State of California and formation of a new State without further analysis and development of detailed governance policies. Section 9603, subdivision (c) of the Elections Code, governing the purpose and effect of such an advisory vote, states:

“. . . ‘advisory vote’ means an indication of general voter opinion regarding the ballot proposal. The results of the advisory vote will in no manner be controlling on the sponsoring legislative body.”

The opinion expressed through the vote on this advisory Measure, while of interest to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors, is not in any manner legally controlling on the Board of Supervisors’ actions.

The vote is not binding, but serves merely to help the County gauge public support for the proposed separation from the State of California and formation of a new state. The Tehama County Board of Supervisors may take whatever action it desires, or no action, regardless of the vote.

Measure “A” has been placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors.[9]

—Arthur J. Wylene, Tehama County Counsel



The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure A:[10]

  • Tom Knorr, chair of Tehama for Jefferson State
  • Robert Nance
  • Chris Gagliano
  • Ben Sale
  • John Growney

Arguments in favor

Knorr explained the purpose behind Measure A, writing, "The root initiative is to fix rural representation, back to a constitutional model, as it was until the 1964 Reynolds vs Sims Supreme Court ruling. Communities, particularly rural communities, need to have a voice in the political process."[1]

The following official arguments were submitted in support of Measure A:[10]

Measure A, the vote to ‘separate from the State of California’, is step 1 of a process to cure bad law that shifted political representation from a constitutional model to the current, population center based model. California is run by the population centers, so is our country. Rural counties have no representation. By voting to separate from California you indicate to your supervisors that you want Tehama County to support this process and gain standing in a federal challenge of Reynolds vs Sims, the Supreme Court decision of 1964 that is the direct cause of this unfavorable representation model.

With your approval, WE, the people, will ask the California legislature and the US Congress to perform a US Constitution Article 4 Section 3 state split to correct our lack of representation.

If our request is denied we are being ‘harmed’, a specific legal condition we seek to document.

Step 2 is to challenge the Reynolds vs Sims decision, the decision that in an attempt to solve underrepresentation of fast growing population centers held that “legislators represent people, not trees or acres” and in the process created the case where rural communities have no or too little representation to offset the cities. We seek to overturn it or correct it to reflect the political representation of rural communities. A successful challenge will require a ‘cure’, another specific legal term. This ‘cure’ is to restore rural representation and with it our voice in the political process in California. It will let us regain political and regulatory control over rural California.

A ‘No’ vote on Measure A means that Tehama County will not support the process to seek better political presentation and will not have ‘standing’ in the legal process.

A ‘Yes’ vote will give Tehama County legal standing in the challenge and politically support the process.

There is no further action required or cost involved to the County. The challenge is driven by concerned volunteers from your community.[9]

—Tom Knorr, Robert Nance, Chris Gagliano, Ben Sale and John Growney[10]

Rebuttal to opposition

The following arguments were submitted as a rebuttal to the official arguments in opposition to Measure A:[10]

  • Local control of our children’s education – funded by opening up our natural resources which are abundant in Northern California.
  • There is no loss of highways. Parks, buildings and recreation areas will be decided at the time of the split – much like a divorce. Anything located in our area is owned by those who live here.
  • Federal programs are responsible for the care of our seniors and the disabled.
  • Unemployment is not exclusive to California, it is a Federal-State program.
  • Laws don’t protect health.
  • Tehama County has major employers in our agriculture and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
  • There will be no “huge state bureaucracy”.
  • Privatizing fire fighting will cut costs and create jobs in one fell swoop.
  • We have many quality colleges in the North State. Arrangements could be made for “in-state tuition” with colleges in California.

What it can bring:

  • Lower taxes, common sense regulations
  • Part time legislature, accountable to hold down real jobs
  • Freedom from regulations made for problems we don’t have
  • Public lands returned to the public

Who will win:

Our children, grandchildren and future generations.[9]

—Tom Knorr, Robert Nance and Chris Gagliano[10]

Flow chart of objective

The following is a flow chart showing the goal of the Jefferson State movement and the path towards that goal:



The following individuals signed the official arguments in opposition to Measure A:[10]

  • Norreene M. Rilea
  • Cheryl Banwarth
  • Norman Banwarth
  • Beth K. Bonner
  • Susanne (Sue) T. Gallagher

Arguments against

Official arguments

The following official arguments were submitted in opposition to Measure A:[10]

We recommend NO on Measure A

  • Loss of free public schools—80% school expenses paid by State of California
  • Loss of highways, parks, buildings, dams, recreation areas owned by State of California
  • Loss of help for seniors and disabled
  • Loss of unemployment insurance
  • Loss of laws protecting health
  • Loss of State Minimum Wage State of California minimum wage increases to $9.00 then $10 in 2015
  • Loss of Tehama County major employer– highway patrol, courts, drivers license, schools, etc.; paid or subsidized by State of California
  • Loss of predictable tax system—who will pay the higher taxes for schools and new huge state bureaucray
  • Loss of ability to fight forest fires– expensive helicopters, special planes, manpower
  • Loss of law enforcement
  • Loss of world class college system, buildings, professors, employees


  • Higher taxes for middle class, especially homeowners
  • Higher insurance rates—especially fire insurance rates for rural homes
  • Unaffordable Jefferson state bureaucracy, governor– treasurer, legislature, tax collectors, Highway department, prisons, National Guard, Courts,etc.
  • Corruption– the poorest, smallest and weakest state, without ability to control toxic dumps, criminals, unethical companies
  • Huge legal expenses State of California owns vital properties, dams, parks, water pipelines, aqueducts, Attorneys will profit over conflicts over water rights with the State of California within State of Jefferson


Politicians, lawyers– Jefferson, as the smallest state, can be corrupted cheaply or just ignored

Vote No on A[9]

—Norreene M. Rilea, Cheryl Banwarth, Norman Banwarth, Beth K. Bonner and Susanne (Sue) T. Gallagher[10]

Rebuttal to support

The following arguments were submitted as a rebuttal to the official arguments in support of Measure A:[10]

We are a country of “one person, one vote”.

The 1964 Supreme Court case “Reynolds vs Sims” guarantees this.

We are a country of people, not land and business interests. Measure A serves the interest of businesses and wealthy land owners. It does not serve the middle class, who after World War II, made this country strong and vibrant.

Who gains from passage of Measure A? The wealthy and the politically powerful are the ones who benefit. As they say themselves: “It will let us regain political and regulatory control over the Northern Counties.” That is politics-speak for taking more power away from those who work for a living, and for dismantling laws that level the political playing field.

It means that the power will go to the rich elite. It means that laws protecting our health and environmental heritage will be swept away like California’s laws that protect us (rights to education, medical benefits, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, nutritional assistance, senior assistance, collective bargaining, worker’s compensation etc.).

It means that laws protecting equal rights will all be wiped away. It means that laws protecting the right to vote will be undermined. It means that corporations will have greater opportunity to cut protected trees, pollute rivers and soil, frack, strip mine and use our lands for their profit, and if they cheat or poison us – it will be too late. Who will pay the price tag? Everyone except those that cause this disaster.[9]

—Beth K. Bonner, Norreene M. Rilea and Susanne (Sue) T. Gallagher[10]

Path to the ballot

County Supervisors

The following county supervisors voted to put the advisory question on the ballot. This does not necessarily mean they endorsed a "yes" vote on the question or the formation of a so-called Jefferson State, but merely that they supported putting the question to a vote of the people.[3]

  • Chairman Dennis Garton
  • Steve Chamblin
  • Sandy Bruce
  • Bob Williams

Burt Bundy, who supported Measure A and the state split resolution, was the sole dissenter when the county supervisors voted on whether or not to put the question before voters on June 3, 2014. He was not in favor of an advisory ballot question and the expense it would require because he was already prepared to vote in favor of the Declaration of Support for the proposed separation.[1]

Similar measures

Related measures

Defeatedd Del Norte County 51st State of Jefferson State Split Question, Measure A (June 2014)
Defeatedd Siskiyou County Jefferson Republic Territory Advisory Question, Measure C (June 2014)

See also

External links

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